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Getting rid of my lawn in a visually appealing fashion  RSS feed

 
Zach Hurley
Posts: 27
Location: South Georgia Zone 8b
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I live in a neighborhood outside of a small metro city (Valdosta) but near enough where my house has a good bit of traffic going by. I would love to have a lawn that is more friendly to my soil and wallet and I have looked into clover and vescue and buffalo grass. The problem is that I get overloaded with info and I can't figure out which will be best for us.

Does anyone have an idea of what I can seed with so that my lawn will look good but helpful to my soil at the same time? I don't want to just try something and then have to deal with killing that off before I can begin Plan 'B'.

(I am happy to read other thread/articles but I cannot find any to help me.)
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
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Bahiagrass makes a pretty good lawn around here. It can take a lot of abuse and come right back, as my chickens have proven.

Another possibility is browntop millet, which doesn't have seedheads as tall as the ones on bahiagrass. If you seed your current lawn with a mixture of the two, they can fill in and make your yard fairly bird friendly.

Are you ready to go completely Permie and encourage broadleaf "weeds" like dandelion and prickly lettuce?
 
Zach Hurley
Posts: 27
Location: South Georgia Zone 8b
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John Elliott wrote:Bahiagrass makes a pretty good lawn around here. It can take a lot of abuse and come right back, as my chickens have proven.

Another possibility is browntop millet, which doesn't have seedheads as tall as the ones on bahiagrass. If you seed your current lawn with a mixture of the two, they can fill in and make your yard fairly bird friendly.

Are you ready to go completely Permie and encourage broadleaf "weeds" like dandelion and prickly lettuce?


Is bahia the one with the black flakes on the trident-looking seed pod? How long can those two go without cutting? I've still got to get a lawn mower from somewhere so paying someone is something that costs me money. Less cutting would be great. Also, I'd love to have flowers in the yard but that's not necessary.

I have a lot of dandelions in the yard and I haven't been eager to pull them. From what I have learned, they are helping my lawn and they aren't getting too high so I am fine. As long as it stays relitvely low and it is good for my soil, I can at least deal with it. If I answered your question with a "yes", what would you recommend?
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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South Georgia means you are in the 'local' area for me and John.

He is right on the Bahia, you are probably bringing that in on your car tires. It is commonly planted on the highways and I used to plant it in my pastures for the horses. It usually reseeds itself (sends up a stalk with seeds) every 72 hours.

If you are O.K. with dandelion then just mowing everything the same height and letting grow what ever will grow will probably result in something nice and green. Check out the pictures at the link called 'my projects' at the bottom of my post.

I seeded white clover, let the violets and pennywort grow at will and there were a few other things, like chickweed, plantain, purslane, a pink oxalis and so forth that were dotted about in the mixture of grasses. I did nothing but mow and save the green clippings to mulch my gardens. No watering, no fertilizing, just a mower set on a fairly high setting.

Now I guess I should check out that link myself - it has been so long that I'm not sure what pictures I have in there.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
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Jeanine Gurley wrote: No watering, no fertilizing, just a mower set on a fairly high setting.


I think that's the best advice, leaving the mower set high lets a lot of native biology develop.

There is one lawn problem in this area that is indicative of a bigger problem -- bare spots. If you have a lot of bare spots with one brave strand of centipede grass trying to get a foothold, it means there is no organic matter in the soil to support growth. Mulch it, till in wood chips, spread composted topping, do something that will bring the soil back to life. Just looking at dessicated beach sand is not going to get it to turn green. But once you have built up the soil carbon, as Jeanine says, seeds will find their way in and sprout and you will soon have a diverse biome in your lawn.
 
Tim Wells
Posts: 119
Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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rye, clover, and let wild mix come
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1357
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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When someone says fruit I think apples, when someone says lawn I think dutch clover seeded at 30lbs/acre.
With no mowing for two years they only get to 6inches, 8inches max.
 
Loren Hunt
Posts: 45
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - Zone 5B
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i would love to see photos of what you do to your lawn.
 
Chad Sievers
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My very first post. This website is great. I live in Little Rock and I planted a white dutch clover lawn in the fall of 2013. I'm still in my first season, but I've noticed a couple of things:
1) the clover seems to be doing better in places with filtered sunlight. The place where it's kind of struggling is in full sun. I'm wondering if the heat is getting to it? 2) I'm wondering if I have soil issues. When I noticed the clover was first struggling (full sunlight part of my yard) I noticed it the leaves turning yellow. I assumed it needed some water, but I'm worried I'll be losing more clover.

 
Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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I have fleur de lawn in my back yard and it looks great. In the heart of spring it needed a little more cutting than advertised, but not as bad as grass. I scraped before seeding, so I can't say how it will overseed.

If you're really looking to get rid of your grass and want to do it quick you could try what I did last winter and cover your lawn with compost. We have a recycler around here that charges $15/yard plus a delivery fee for compost. I bought enough to cover a small area of yard around 8-12 inches. I seeded it in spring and now it looks like this:

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